Darren Bridges sentenced to life in prison for murder of NOPD officer Marcus McNeil

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 12:07 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2022 at 3:49 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Darren Bridges, who was found guilty of first-degree murder in the October 2017 fatal shooting of New Orleans police officer Marcus McNeil, was handed down a mandatory life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole by Judge Angel Harris on Wed., Nov. 2.

District Attorney Jason Williams opted not to seek the death penalty in the case.

An Orleans Parish jury returned the guilty verdict on Tues., Sept. 27 after nearly three hours of deliberations. Jurors also found Bridges, 35, guilty of obstruction of justice, aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of a firearm by a felon, and four narcotics charges.

The 29-year-old McNeil, known to fellow officers by his nickname “Milk Dud,” was on patrol in the Seventh District (New Orleans East) shortly after midnight on Oct. 13, 2017, when he answered a call to investigate a suspicious person near Tara Lane and Lake Forest Boulevard.

Officer Marcus McNeil, 29, was a three-year veteran of the department.
Officer Marcus McNeil, 29, was a three-year veteran of the department.

During a confrontation with Bridges, prosecutors said McNeil was shot multiple times. Williams, who prosecuted the case with assistant district attorney Andre Gaudin, said Bridges stood over McNeil to fire a fatal shot to the back of his head in what the DA described to jurors as “an execution.”

NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson says the life sentence feels like justice served.

Today, a life sentence was handed down in the 2017 murder of NOPD Officer Marcus McNeil. With this decision, we feel that justice has been served and hope that Officer McNeil’s family and loved ones – including his NOPD family – can find a sense of peace in the wake of this tragedy.

We thank Judge Harris for her continued overseeing of the trial process. We thank District Attorney Jason Williams and his staff for their successful handling of this prosecution, and we thank all NOPD staff who put in countless hours of dedicated effort to investigate and provide a strong case and to offer continued services to Officer McNeil’s family.

Though the killing was captured on video surveillance cameras and police body-worn cameras, defense attorneys Kerry Cuccia and Christian Bonin attempted to convince jurors that the images did not tell the whole story of their client’s encounter with police, and argued the homicide could be seen as justifiable.

McNeil had been on the police force only three years when he was murdered, leaving behind a wife and two young children.

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